Pioneering New House Building Model To Be Considered
30th July 2010
Highland Councillors are being asked to consider investigating the feasibility of a pioneering new model of providing much-needed affordable homes in the Highlands.
It could see a new build programme of 650 houses over a five year period.
The idea is for the Council to work with a private sector partner to release the equity currently tied up in its Council houses. As houses become vacant they would transfer to the private sector partner in return for a capital payment. The capital would be used to build new houses for let as Council tenancies.
A key point to note is that the Council would continue to allocate, manage and maintain the stock, based on agreed fees per unit to be paid to the council by the partner.
The transferred houses would be relet to applicants on the Highland Housing Register at rent levels pitched between the average council rent and private rents, currently estimated at £75 per week (charged over 52 weeks). The average council rent for the current financial year is £59.76 (over 52 weeks).
Properties would revert to Council ownership at nil cost after 25 years.
Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of the Council's Housing and Social Work Committee, said: "This is an interesting proposition that has come forward from our Housing and Property management team, which allows the Council to release equity on the asset value of council housing becoming vacant to relet to generate funds for new council house building. We estimate this could number 650 over a five year period, The number could be significantly increased if the Scottish Government continues to provide subsidy for Council house building.
"The Housing and Social Work Committee will be asked to agree to undertake and fund a full feasibility assessment on the equity release model as a means to deliver additional affordable housing in the Highlands. We would work closely with the Scottish Government in developing the model.
"We would then come back to the Committee with a detailed business case."
She stressed that addressing the shortage of affordable housing in the Highlands is one of the Council's key priorities.
She added: "Strengthening the Highlands" has a target of 2,000 new affordable homes by 2011. We are on target to meet this commitment, but have identified ongoing high levels of demand for additional housing for rent beyond 2011. Successive Local Housing Strategies have identified the need for additional housing supply as the main strategic issue in relation to housing."
The budget for 2015/16 and the indicative budget for the following 3 years has been agreed following a meeting today of Highland Council. A package of savings totally Â£42.8 million was agreed.
â€˜Out with the old, in with the new' is an expression frequently heard over the Festive Season and this year The Highland Council's Waste Awareness Team are urging us all to make sure we don't just throw away the old but remember to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible. Remember to use your blue bin for all paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, food tins and drink cans (no glass or plastic bags - everything should be loose, dry and clean).
Today (Monday 15 December 2014) marks the introduction of revised planning permitted development rights for agricultural and forestry tracks. All proposed new, or alterations to existing, roads, tracks or footpaths (known collectively as â€˜private ways') on agricultural or forestry land must now go through a prior notification process with the Planning Authority before any development can commence.
People in Thurso are being advised by The Highland Council that the recycling banks at Thurso Lidl have been removed until February 2015 due to lack of space in the car park during the store's renovations. At this time of year householders have a lot of extra recycling, including glass in particular, and the Council is urging them to use other banks in the town.
Part-time distance learning primary teaching course. Building on an existing successful partnership between The Highland Council and the University of Aberdeen, the next Distance Learning Initial Teacher Education Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (DLITE PGDE) (Primary) begins on 7 February 2015.
The work of Highland Council's Countryside Rangers was welcomed at the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee as Members gave their support for the wide range of work done by the Rangers and also gave their approval for the 2015/16 programme of events across the area. Highland Council's Countryside Manager George Duff informed members of the achievements made by the Rangers in the last financial year for 2013/14 and highlighted some local events they had been involved in: Â· In Caithness and Sutherland 162 events took place which were attended by 1865 people with 98% of participants saying it met their expectations and 59% saying it exceeded expectations.
With staff due to move into the new council offices in Wick in March next year, one of the items on the Area Committee today was to agree a name for the building which will house 140 members of staff. Local Councillors, keen to have a new name to encompass both the refurbished original listed building at Market Place and to reflect the new works to incorporate the adjoining building at Stafford Place put forward the suggestion of Caithness House which was unanimously agreed by the Committee.
No bags in Blue Bins recycling message. Clean, dry and loose, that's the simple message that The Highland Council is delivering to householders where it has been experiencing contamination issues with the blue recycling bins.
Proposal to end collections on February 1. A proposal to end the collection of Poll Tax debts from February 1 next year is contained within the Community Charge Debt (Scotland) Bill, which is published today.
CHANGES to a number of Polling Districts and Polling Places in the Highlands were agreed today at the meeting of the Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee. The Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places in Highland commenced in November 2013, in line with duties under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013.
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